Government Plans to Recalibrate Undocumented Immigrants

Dato’ Seri Hamzah Zainuddin (right) with Datuk Seri M Saravanan

IN light of the difficulties in obtaining manpower by employers in this pandemic era, the government has announced a programme to recalibrate undocumented immigrants in order to make them legal for employment.

This was announced by the Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin at his Ministry yesterday, after a meeting with the Minister for Human Resources Datuk Seri M Saravanan.

The recalibration programme that will be implemented from Nov 16 2020 through June 30 2021, will consist of two components; one which allows undocumented immigrants to register themselves to be employed in the four 3-D (Dirty, Dangerous and Difficult) sectors namely construction, manufacturing, plantation and agriculture, while the other allows them to return to their respective countries.

When asked about the difference compared to the previous amnesty programmes Hamzah stressed that this programme does not involve third-party vendors. 

“All undocumented immigrants in this country who wish to participate in either component must register themselves directly with the Peninsular Malaysia’s Department of Human Resources. If they and their employers meet the pre-requisites, then they will be allowed to work,” he explained.

The government expects to collect RM90 million from compounds and fines through this recalibration programme.  

Only undocumented immigrants from the 15 countries listed as allowed to be employed, who are already in Malaysia may participate in this programme.  

There are about 20,000 undocumented immigrants being held at the immigration detention centres.

This move would definitely help the industries mentioned above.  Early July,  Malaysian Employers Federation Executive Director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan said the plantation sector might lose RM142 billion in their operations this year due to a shortage of workers, while shortage of workers in the agriculture sector would lead to an increase in the price of vegetables.

Although both the Home Affairs and Human Resources Ministries have said that employers interested in the recalibration programme will have to abide by a certain ratio of foreign versus local worker limit that is to be set, it is interesting to see how many Malaysians would actually be interested in the 3-D jobs.

When the Selayang wholesale market faced a shortage of foreign workers a few months ago due to the area coming under the Enhanced Controlled Movement Order, there was a lukewarm response by Malaysians to fill in the vacancies.

Datuk Shamsuddin explained that this was not just about the wages offered. 

Although Malaysians earn double that of their foreign counterparts, the former are not used to working in such environments.

“Locals are not keen on staying long in these kinds of jobs.  They need to be brave and strengthen their attitude towards working less favourable jobs and should treat all jobs with respect.”

His main worry is that once the economy improves, the Malaysians would not want to stay in those 3-D sectors.  Therefore, Malaysia will always have that reliance on foreign workers.

Malaysians are, of course, sceptical about any such programme.  Previous amnesty programmes, especially those run by third-party vendors have always been open to abuse.  

Despite having the 6P amnesty programme in 2011, the number of immigrants, both legal and undocumented, increased by 1.013 million between 2010 and 2019.

To allay this fear, Hamzah said that the wages that are to be paid to the legalised immigrants under this recalibration scheme will only be done electronically (e-Wages).

“When there is no money being deposited by the employer, then we will know that they are no longer being employed.  It would be easier for us to track them down.”

Any employer caught employing an undocumented immigrant after June 30 2021 will be fined RM50,000 or a jail term of up to 12 months per worker. If they are caught with five or more undocumented worker, the penalty shall include whipping.

(This article first appeared on The Mole )

The Sinister Daily

Ask Blogger-turned-Deputy Minister, YB Dato’ P. Kamalanathan, about fake news and he would lament the demise of ethical journalism.  He was once asked by a journalist from a local daily to comment on the video of an Indian-looking woman having her head shaved by two Malay-looking men that was made viral.

Being a responsible social media practitioner, Kamalanathan made the effort to verify the authenticity of the video, only to find out that it had originated from a South American nation, and the incident had happen in that particular country.

When we talk about the ethics of journalism, we would easily imagine the responsibility to ensure the accuracy of the journalists’ work; to verify information before releasing an article; and to shun stereotyping.  Unfortunately, in the world of today’s journalism, accuracy is no longer a value but sensationalism is.  More often than not, an article is conjured to shape the way readers think rather than to allow them to form their own opinion based on a balanced article.

Coincidentally, twenty years ago this year, the eighteenth James Bond movie was released. It was about a psychopathic media mogul who plans to provoke global war to boost sales and ratings of his news divisions.  Although far-fetched, the plot is what many online and print media do nowadays.  And what is to be provoked may not be as dangerous as a global war but equally explosive racial or religious clashes.

Enter The Star.

Yesterday evening, The Star announced the immediate suspension of its Group Editor-in-Chief, Datuk Leanne Goh Lee Yen and executive director Dorairaj Nadason, but not before it sent four editors to face the wrath of the KDN.  The KDN had slapped the daily with a seven-day show cause, while the Inspector-General of Police has begun investigating it under the Sedition Act.

Sedition Act may be seen as a heavy-handed response, but not given The Star’s penchant for inciting racial and religious outrage. It has an array of examples of provoking the above.

During the month of Ramadhan in 2011, The Star published three pork-centred advertisements in its Ramadhan Delights pullout.  Three pork advertisements in a Ramadhan Delights pullout could not have been unintentional. The KDN summoned The Star and was let off with a slap on the wrist.

A screenshot of justread-whatever.blogspot.com article on The Star’s Ramadhan Pork Fest

A mere two years later, it published a report on the rise in the number of child marriages in Malaysia.  The choice of visual display accompanying the report was extremely suggestive.

The suggestive photo used by The Star when reporting on child marriages

The Star harped only on the 2012 statistics provided by the Malaysian Syariah Judiciary Depart­ment (JKSM) where 1022 marriage application involving at least a minor was approved by the Syariah judiciary.  And then it sought the view of Sisters in Islam to justify the report, putting Islam in a bad light.

What it failed to report was that in the same year, 468 marriages involving non-Muslim minors were also approved.  How is that for balanced reporting?  I know that the link given is from 2016, but could the The Star journalist filing that story not have gone to the National Registraton Department to seek for the non-Muslim numbers?

What is sad is that the story was filed by a Muslim journalist.

However, not all of The Star’s journalists were dancing the same tune.  Joceline Tan whose columns have been taking on the Opposition by the horns, faces the wrath of the DAP and PKR on almost a daily basis.  Another was Sira Habibu who, when based in Pulau Pinang, wrote exposés on the DAP and PKR polls.

Things changed for Sira Habibu when Leanne Goh was appointed the Group Editor-in-Chief in 2014.  Sira was tranferred to Kelantan and away from being able to do stories on especially the DAP.  She had one very notable article ridiculing the DAP polls which was given the title “It’s All In The Family For DAP’s Top Rung.”

Sira Habibu’s article ridiculing the DAP line up

If you search for the article using its URL now, which is www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2012/12/10/its-all-in-the-family-for-daps-top-rung/ you will find that it is no longer there.

This is where Sira Habibu’s article on the DAP line up was

Leanne Goh did not even defend Joceline Tan’s writing when attacked by a former The Star journalists for being anti-Opposition.

Since then, The Star has been pandering to the DAP evangelists and Liberal Muslims on the pretext of promoting a “Moderate Malaysia.”

When Pastor Ramond Koh went missing in February 2017, The Star went to town with the case, reporting at least seven times between March and May this year on the issue with headlines such as this:

The above headline suggests that the Malaysian security forces and indirectly the Malaysian government may be involved in the disappearance of the said pastor.  The location of the video is not where the pastor was first said to have gone missing and the speed of the CCTV camera panning suggests that there was someone controlling the camera and that the person knew what to wait for and what was going to happen.

The Star’s coverage of the missing pastor was picked up by foreign portals that have since put Malaysia in a bad light.

All the above quoted The Star.  So what is Leanne Goh’s game?

The Star has since suspended Leanne Goh and a senior editor Dorairaj Nadason over the frontpage fiasco, and have returned Datuk Wong Chun Wai to oversee the editorial operations.  But mind you some of the examples I mentioned above also happened during Chun Wai’s time as the GEIC which goes to show that he was not in total control back then.

The Star has issued countless apologies especially to the Muslims in Malaysia but has remained remorseless.

So would Chun Wai be able to wrestle the evangelist and liberal monsters who reside within The Star, or would a suspension of its publishing and printing permits that it so deserves be needed to remind not only The Star, but all journalists to be ethical? Maybe only then its habit of promoting racial and religious hatred will stop.

We will see what the next six days will bring us.